Church of St. Varlaam Khutinsky (1780), West View, Vologda, Russia


This west view of the Church of Saint Varlaam Khutinskii in Vologda was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Before the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, Russia depended on a northern route through the White Sea for trade with western Europe. One of the most important centers on this route was Vologda, founded in the 12th century. A rich center of medieval Russian culture, Vologda has numerous churches. Among the most elegant is the Church of Saint Varlaam Khutinskii (built in 1777-80), an excellent example of neoclassical design in Russian church architecture. Although the name of the architect is unknown, it is known that the merchant who commissioned the church gained his wealth from trade in Saint Petersburg. The elongated plan of the whitewashed, stucco brick structure and its emphasis on the bell tower steeple are reminiscent of Saint Petersburg’s first major monument, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul (1712-32, by Domenico Trezzini). The entrance to the church is framed by an Ionic portico in the manner of a rotunda, while the steeple base is accented by attached, paired Corinthian columns. The bells have not been preserved. The building is currently used as an icon restoration workshop.

Last updated: January 11, 2016